In Orïsha, wielders of magic were once revered, but then magic suddenly disappeared, leaving the maji defenseless as the king swept the land to exterminate all magic. The story begins with Zélie, daughter of a powerful Reaper killed in the extermination, trying to ensure her family’s survival. Her dark skin and white hair mark her as a diviner, causing her to face discrimination for her potential for magic even though she cannot access it. Through chance, or the will of the gods, Zélie unwillingly joins forces with Amari, a noble who carries a sacred object capable of unlocking a small portion of Zélie’s magic. As they set out on their journey, they learn that Inan, Amari’s brother and successor to the throne, has been tasked with tracking down the object and eliminating any who stand in his way.
Readers who struggle transitioning between various narrators may have a difficult time at first, as this story is told from the perspectives of Zélie, Amari, and Inan. As the story progresses and the characters are developed, you may find yourself counting down sentences until the next chapter so you can see how the events affect other characters. Anyone looking to lose themselves in a new world will love the language used to describe Orïsha and its people.
Adeyemi‘s education and heritage shine throughout the novel. She manages to create a strange but familiar nation comparable to Panem, while also incorporating current events throughout the world. Racial discrimination and profiling, religious discrimination, and class warfare are woven throughout Children of Blood and Bone. She aims to tell a story that matters, and she succeeds. The book finishes with a major cliffhanger that will change the land of Orïsha forever, leaving me anxious for the next book’s publication.